My daughter starts kindergarten next week.
I never thought I’d be the one to cry when my kids went to school. (I didn’t even cry at our wedding.) But the other night, I couldn’t stop crying about it.
She’s young. She won’t even turn five until three weeks after school starts.
Several well-meaning people have advised me not to “rush things.” They’ve told me about how their child started early and how it was too much for them. They’ve mentioned how it means she’ll be a 12-year-old with 14-year-old boys and how she’ll be the last in her class to get her driver’s license and how she’ll go through puberty later than her peers and how she’ll be just 17 when she graduates.
Even though my husband and I both believe this is the right decision, and she is beyond excited about starting kindergarten, and despite the fact that I really wish this weren’t true about myself, other people’s opinions hold a great deal of sway with me.
So I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of letting go. I’m afraid of letting my baby girl, who has spent all five years of her life being shaped and influenced by me, my husband and a circle of carefully chosen and trusted people, out into the big, bad world.
I found myself crying for the unknown. I was mourning the loss of innocence that inevitably comes with growing up. I was crying because I can’t protect her from pain that she will surely experience in a broken world. I was trying to hold on to control.
But control is only an illusion anyway. Here’s the truth. (And this blows my mind.)
Five years ago God trusted me – impulsive, insecure, inexperienced, broken – to take care of his daughter. And now I’m struggling with trusting Him – the creator of the universe, the author of all life, love itself – to take care of her.
What is wrong with me?
I’ve heard that raising kids is a lifelong lesson in letting go. So I might as well get on board. Hopefully it will get easier the more I do it.
I’m not sure there’s a mom that exists that feels completely ready to let go when the time comes. I imagine God might have felt something similar when he was letting Jesus go into this world.
But He did, thank goodness. And I will too.
I’ve really connected with Psalm 121 lately. I speak it over my daughter each night.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Love this post, Becky! I do not envy you the decision of when to start your kiddo in school. Mine have winter birthdays, so the decision is already made for us in many ways. I am certain that you and your husband are making the right choice. Not because I know what the right choice is (if there even is one right one), but because you are a great mom. You can let her go (just a little bit) and also be there to catch her if she stumbles. It doesn’t mean that she won’t get hurt, but it means that she can feel supported and loved no matter what. And when she stumbles, you will be there to help her make sense of her world. We all stumble. We don’t always need someone to save us. Sometimes we just need someone to help us understand or let us know that it’s okay if we don’t understand. She’s a lucky girl to have the parents she has, and she is going to do GREAT. Also, it’s okay if you cry. I didn’t cry at my own wedding, either. I didn’t even cry when I took her to daycare for the first time at 3 months old… but I’m really worried about the first day of full day preschool in a few weeks. There is just something amazing and inspiring and heartbreaking about watching them grow.
Thanks, Tiffany. Your comment actually made me cry too. 🙂
I really appreciate all the encouragement you give me when I post. And I also know you’re right in the same stage of life with your littles so I know you understand!
Ditto on loving this post! I struggled with Layla heading into school regardless of age and had/have a lot of the same fears and battling ‘letting go’. You eloquently expressed them and I so appreciate reading them! =)
Thank you, Marisa. I’m glad to have friends like you who “get it.”
I recently told a friend, who is pregnant with her first, to read all the pregnancy books she can. But don’t pick up one book about the first few years after they arrive. Why? Because every single kid is different. And if you read that your kid is “supposed” to be walking/talking/reading/potty trained/schooled/insertanymilestonehere at a certain age and she isn’t? PANIC. Out comes the measuring stick which is used to measure our performance and value as a parent. Something MUST be wrong with my kid. I have learned (the hard way) that how I parent and how my kids develop is no one else’s responsibility or business. It goes the other way too. I gotta keep my nose outta everyone else’s business. We are all doing our best. And that looks very different for each family. I don’t doubt for a second that you are making the right choice for your family. Skip started early too. And he turned out just fine. Well… 😉
As always, you have wise words, Carolyn. I hate that stupid measuring stick. (Although I’m sure I use it on myself too…)